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French court arrests 2 hotels bought on money of Russian ex-official

October 24, 2014, 10:34 UTC+3

Formal owners of these real estate objects are French legal entities

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© flickr/cocaatblueskies

MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. French court has arrested two hotels at French ski resort Courchevel bought on money of former Moscow region Finance Minister Aleksey Kuznetsov for their possible confiscation in favour of Russia, spokesperson of Russian Prosecutor General’s Office Marina Gridneva told TASS.

She noted that thus Albertville court has satisfied a request from the Prosecutor General’s Office to arrest Courchevel hotels Crystal and Pralong. The prosecutor’s request was made within the criminal case investigated by Russian Investigative Committee against former Moscow regional First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksey Kuznetsov and other participants in his criminal group.

Formal owners of these real estate objects are French legal entities. “Despite this the court took into account Russian arguments that they had been bought on funds acquired in criminal activity of Kuznetsov and his wife, US citizen Jeanne Bullock,” Gridneva said.

In her words, “In its rulings French court said straightforwardly that hotels were arrested for their possible confiscation on the verdict of a court which will hold merit court proceedings, so this will be a specific Russian court.”

Last week France’s Lyon Court of Appeals satisfied a request for Kuznetsov’s extradition to Russia.

Kuznetsov occupied the post of finance minister in the Moscow region from 2000 to 2008 and also held the position of the first deputy prime minister in Moscow regional government from 2004 to 2008. He was detained in the summer of 2013 near the French Cote d’Azur resort city of Saint Tropez under an arrest warrant issued by Russia. The former official was on Interpol wanted list since November 2012. He is suspected in Russia of crimes committed in Moscow regional housing and public utility sector that caused more than 3.5 billion roubles ($84.3 million) of damage to the budget.

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